It's tough for me to say, but if I had to pick one game that made me love playing video games, I would have to pick Mario 64.
The 1996 release from Nintendo for its own console, the N64, took Mario from 2-D to 3-D. Mario, who some claim is of greater cultural importance to our generation than Mickey Mouse, brought gaming to a whole new level. Six years later, Super Mario Sunshine for GameCube gave gamers a sequel to Mario 64. Although the game was impressive and received positive feedback, it fell short of being a worthy follow-up. A great number of gamers said the game lacked the essential Mario-ness.
The design team at Nintendo set out to bring a Mario sequel that gamers would embrace, and it created something quite wonderful: Super Mario Galaxy.
The game, which was released Tuesday, contains all the classic enemies and power-ups along with original additions, and the soundtrack has sweeping orchestral renditions of old Mario tunes while adding some memorable new ones.
However, the real element that makes Galaxy such a joy to play is not the time you'll spend reminiscing of past Mario adventures, but rather the new level-designs.
The levels consist of small, oddly shaped planets in outer space, each of which possesses its own gravitational pull that can have Mario running upside down, floating between different planets and generally putting the great camera system to work.
On top of the great level design are the graphics that bring the Wii's visuals to a new height. Although the cartoon-y graphics don't look as good as the ones for some new games on other consoles, they do look better than anything else seen previously on the Wii. The art design makes the whole experience much stranger and, as a result, much more enjoyable.
Super Mario Galaxy is a must-have for any Wii owner and will definitely push those who are on the fence about getting a Wii.
November is traditionally a great time for gamers, and Nintendo has given Wii owners a real treat.